Grantham career criminal’s bid to slash jail sentence is dismissed

Richard Whitfield. EMN-150416-092936001
Richard Whitfield. EMN-150416-092936001
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A career criminal involved in a £300,000 luxury car ringing scam deserves every day of his tough jail term, Appeal Court judges have ruled.

Richard Whitfield, 33, of The Grove, Grantham, was ‘caught red handed’ after police tracked stolen Range Rovers to an industrial unit.

He was caged for four years at Lincoln Crown Court on January 8 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to handle stolen goods.

And, a week later at Leicester Crown Court, he was handed another nine months behind bars for two counts of handling stolen laptops and breaching a suspended sentence.

The conspiracy involved high value vehicles, altogether worth more than £300,000, Lady Justice Rafferty told the court in London.

Vehicles were stolen in London and taken to the East Midlands where they were cloned and sold, she added.

On August 1 last year, a tracker on a Range Rover Sport was activated at an industrial unit in Lincolnshire.

Police found two Range Rover Sports at the scene and Whitfield was seen trying to walk away from one of the vehicles.

Incriminating putty was found nearby and number plates were lying around, the court heard.

Whitfield pleaded guilty on the basis that he had travelled to London twice to assist with collecting stolen vehicles, each time receiving £150 and paying for his own fuel.

He agreed to carry out work on one of the Range Rovers to change its identity. He accepted he was ‘fully aware’ the vehicles had been stolen.

Whitfield also admitted handling laptops worth £1,200 which had been stolen in a burglaryHe sold two Apple computers for £380 on Gumtree, but when the buyer switched on one of the laptops it was tracked by the original owner.

The court heard Whitfield had 39 previous convictions for 80 offences including theft, handling stolen goods, burglary and criminal damage.

However, his lawayers argued his total jail term of four years and nine months was far too tough.

He had expected to be sentenced for all the crimes at the same time, they said.

But Lady Justice Rafferty, sitting with Mr Justice Foskett and Mr Justice Nicol, said Whitfield had been ‘caught red-handed, or more accurately putty-handed’.

The judge said the sentencing exercise was ‘exemplary’ and the overall punishment imposed could not be viewed as ‘manifestly excessive’.

Whitfield’s appeal was dismissed.